Must Win Game At Ranchi As CSK Stand In The Way
Venue: JSCA Stadium, Ranchi
Time: 4 PM IST
The Ranchi pitch has been slow and low. Teams batting second have found modest chases turning slippy due to the progressive slowness of the pitch and increasing turn on offer. CSK have played 2 matches at Ranchi so far and have won them both rather convincingly thanks to aggressive clean hitting by Dwayne Smith at the top.
Head To Head
Fierce rivals, RCB and CSK have faced each other on 15 occasions with Chennai holding the honours with a 8-6 lead and one match having been washed out. Matches between these 2 teams have always been high scoring affairs, with an average run rate of 8.13.
RCB’s top order floundered but the consistent middle order displays give hope. Muttiah Muralitharan had Delhi's batsmen guessing so he might be a handy inclusion again given the spinning conditions. Yuvraj Singh played a match winning innings to keep RCB buoyant in the tournament and being his second amazing knock in 2 games, momentum is definitely going his way.
The spinners did the job for CSK like they always do in Indian conditions in their last match against RR. Mohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja starred with 3 and 2 wickets each to restrict the batsmen. Dwayne Smith gave good impetus to the chase and Dhoni’s ability to take the match right till the end and soak up all pressure was on display yet again as he took CSK across the line for a comfortable win.
Preview Of The Teams:
RCB need to win all four of their remaining games while CSK need 1 win out of their four to seal a playoffs slot unless they're looking at a no.1 finish. By getting an impressive win in the previous game and some good individual performances over the tournament, RCB would be having the belief in themselves to achieve this difficult feat of winning the next 4 games on the trot. The 4th overseas slot is still an unsettled area for RCB with Morkel, Muralitharan and Rampaul all having had a go and still competing for the slot. The unsure form of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli is also a worry but AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh have been brilliant in the middle order. Two of RCB's games are against CSK and they will hope to take the lead here.
CSK has been mechanically efficient with the batsmen consistently scoring and the bowlers tight except in two games against KXIP. Their spinners have yielded runs when under constant attack by KXIP, throwing even the disciplined pace unit off balance so that difference in approach could be decisive to dominate CSK. Mohit Sharma has been a revelation this season and has been among the top wicket takers of the tournament so far. Ravichandran Ashwin has been a bit patchy but Ravindra Jadeja has been economical in general. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum make for an explosive opening pair and with David Hussey added to the roster now, they have more explosive strength on their bench. MS Dhoni has been as cool as a cucumber as always and has finished matches with ease when the top order fail to finish the job.
The pressure is on for Virat Kohli and it’s not just his reputation as a batsman on the line but also his reputation as a performer under pressure and ability as captain that he needs to remind opposition of. Mitchell Starc has been one of the most reliable players in the tournament. He often gets the wickets that are needed at crucial junctures and also contributes a lot in the field with some brilliant catches. Yuvraj Singh hitting form at the right time would also see all eyes on him to perform again.
Dwayne Smith has bulldozed all opposition on his way to being the second highest run scorer of the season. He has shown total comfort no matter how the pitch has been, accelerating tremendously after getting himself in and his knocks have been the difference for CSK in games where other batsman have failed to come to terms with the conditions. Mohit Sharma with his new found wicket taking ability has been a menace to the batsmen and even the best in the business are finding it tough to put him away.